Archive for January, 2014

Guys I am so so sorry for the lateness. Like honestly, I hit the trifecta (auto correct is not even helping me with the spelling) this week, my game was trolling me: Crashing after I’d get everyone dressed (without saving), or after I’d created a set, and there’s only so many times I want to reopen a game to repeat the same actions before I get mad. Or the game decides to work flawlessly (like every other time I play), and the internet is patchy, or I’m sick. 

I know, excuses >_< I will get better. I mean I remember when I published a chapter a night, so I know I can keep a schedule. Definitely not once a day, but… Maybe actually being able to hold a once a week schedule. Maybe.. Possibly, we’ll see. 

And I don’t know if you can notice, but the story telling style is slightly different to suit Larka’s thought patterns. I’m not sure how obvious it is, I notice it because that’s how I see her as I’m writing. So if it seems a little different that’s probably why. But I did have bad writers block for this chapter, so it might just seem a little iffy anyway. Perfect visualizations in my head, just putting pen to paper right now, anyways, like I said above, I will get better.

*

Chapter 5.6 (4)

The night was warm and sticky, it’s heat stuck to my skin in a thin veil a sweat. The summer orchestra of the night had set to work, a quiet hum over the loud music of the club vibrating within it’s brick walls. Crickets sung in time with the owls, carried on the breeze, bringing with it a myriad of new scents. Sweat, and alcohol, and hearts, beating in time with the seductive tones of the bass. It was just a shame I was stationed outside away from the alluring beat.

Squinting my eyes in mock frustration, I drag my gaze across the map once again, emitting a soft moan as I do so. The damsel in distress wasn’t exactly my forte, nor it my idea of a good night out. But then again, if the sick bastard preying on that cliche got off on it, then it was a step towards making this night a hell of a lot more interesting.

Chapter 5.6 (6)

Holding a cigarette lightly between two puckered lips, my hands fumble over the garter attached at my thigh for a light. Footsteps lightly dance across the stone pavement, rushing with the breeze to greet me. “Need a light?” The voice is deep, and husky. Seductive. The flame bursts from the metal casing with a flame a red, hot light. “You lost little lady?”

Target locked.

*

Chapter 5.6

Papers slide across the smooth wooden table. Four folders, four wannabe soldiers, three excluding me. I sigh with a slight smirk plastered across my face, eyes slowly dragging across black and white ink. This guy, no, this thing was no joke, five woman dead in the last two weeks in the outskirts of Appaloosa Plains. Close to home. This guy was obviously a new blood, only an amateur, or someone with a death wish would be so careless as to ruffle up so many feathers with a huge military force just down the road.

“Now boys and girl, before we can make any plans for tracking this one down, I want to go over skills, and battle tactics.” Captain Judd muses, lazily flicking through the mass of paper work under his nose. His dark smoldering eyes burning with dim curiosity as his finger, just drawn from his mouth dances on the edge of the page. “Hmm, blondie, your quite the tracker ain’t ya? Did a few years on the front line too before you got recommended for the mercenaries…” His words are met with an unintelligent shrug and mumbling, before he flicks to the next page. “And you Larka-“

Chapter 5.6 (2)

As his eyes meet mine with a deep intensity, Sampson calls out with a nervous voice. “S.. Sir? If this guy has already killed five w.. Woman, then by the time we go over this, isn’t it likely that there will be another fatality?” My eyes narrow in dangerously on my brother, and if looks could kill, then he’d surely be a heap on the ground by now.

“Well kid, your new here, not sure how long you’ll last...” With a shake of his head, a pen  flickers across an empty note page, probably noting down what an idiot Sampson was. “But… If we go in guns a blazing, with no plan, and no idea, the next fatality is likely to be you. This ain’t no field test, this is the real world, and the real world is a battleground, people die. Our job is to make sure the bad guys get caught, and dealt with. Can’t do that without a plan, kay?”

“I… Yes, sir.” Sampson’s voice is a bitter defeat, weak, soft. The guys all shake their heads slightly, thinking the exact same things I am. He’s weak. These missions included executing someone, not just fighting for your life, but tracking someone down and killing them. Being the hunter. It was brutal, and harsh, and he just didn’t have the balls for it. He could have chosen any specialty, any branch, he could have even been a god damn politician like mother but he had to interfere in my life.

Chapter 5.6 (3)

“So Captain, what exactly is the plan?” Aiden asks beneath his oversized beanie, and dark locks. I knew him from the academy, and my school days. He wasn’t overly remarkable, but he could drink, and I liked that.

“That’s up to you guys, I’m just here to make sure you don’t screw up and get yourselves killed.” The captain states matter of factly before he takes a thoughtful pause, taking warm, hot coffee into his mouth. “I will make a few suggestions since this is your first time, and I don’t really want your deaths on my records.” It’s hard to tell if his final words are a joke or not, but his face remains a still frame of boredom. “There’s four of you, and when you get to Appaloosa Plains, any deaths from then on will reflect poorly on you. In your core, there’s an ex soldier, a pretty young girl, exactly the kind our guy likes, an officer in the making, and-” His eyes slide over to Sampson with an amused smirk. “- Mr supreme justice over there. So come on then, what do you got?”

*

Chapter 5.6 (5)

If you had of looked amongst the crowd of the busy bar, past the sweating bodies rolling in time with the beat, you might have seen a shock of blonde hair, sitting at the bar. It would be likely that the pretty girls had him cornered there, flicking their hair, and batting their eyelids, trying to catch his attention. It had been decided that with Seth’s experience, and tracking skills, that on a night like tonight, when we had this guys movements down to the second, that he would watch over the patrons of the small club he’d claimed as his own for his sixth and final victim.

If the vampire showed, if he made any inclination to take someone without our knowledge, Seth would know, and he’d stand the best chance of taking a vamper down one on one. Judd was on the breeze, his scent a faint whisper, a ghost. The captain was watching, waiting, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out where. Everything was in position for this one moment, for the hunt to come to an end. For us to finally take our prize and head back home.

Chapter 5.6 (7)

“You look a little lost, you must be new in town. My name is Zack.” His voice is powerful, his eyes hypnotic. Giggling, I teasingly move my body closer to his, not taking my eyes off of those eyes. The scent of hunger rolled off of him in waves, indulgent, and greedily, his eyes drag themselves over my seemingly frail body. The silver rod burns it’s way into my thigh begs for release, this guy had a completely different look and feel to the vampires I knew.

“Is it that noticeable?” Donning my best smile, I stumble slightly, taking another step towards him. Aiden and Sampson were moving into position, giving me a slight confidence boost as I run a hand down his chest, pulling out the poorly written address from a scrunched up piece of paper. “Maybe. Maybe you could take me home? I just. I give up.” Could he smell the alcohol on my breath? Did I look the part? “I just… I don’t know where to go. You’ll help though… Won’t you?”

Chapter 5.6 (8)

Cringing inwardly, the vampire drapes his body across mine, successfully pinning me to the wall in one fluid movement. Now if his thirst for hunger wasn’t so apparent, as though it were seeping from each and every pore from his body, then it could have been kind of hot. Handsome stranger in the street, only knowing his name, and his body. It was a shame that he had to be a killer, and a brainless one at that. But I could play along with the game. It’s not like he could lay a finger on me with so many people around. “You smell nice.”

Giggling again, I brush the hair from my eyes with a seductive look, try your compulsion on me, I dare you, it seems to beg. You couldn’t compel the dead, and it was clear that I walked a very narrow line between the two. “Which way, sir.” His deathly cold fingers dance over my neck a final time before he leads me to the darkness of the streets.

“I’m gonna take real good care of you.” He purrs into my ear, sounding like a fat cat who had already one it’s prize, and from what I had learnt from this town tracking him down, this was definitely not the way back to the old motel. My heart pounds in earnest anticipation, rattling against the walls of my chest with it’s own hunger.

Chapter 5.6 (9)

The sound of the music quickly fades into the distant sound of silence and the night. My soft breath, and the overwhelming sound of his sick mind. The faces we see, the people we leave, they’d never remember my name, my face, they probably had no idea I’d even been here tonight. Watching and waiting for them. All of us, his victims, were just that, ghosts, invisible. Even after he was gone, all would be forgotten by sunrise. No words are spoken between us as the lights begin to grow dimmer with each and every step that we take towards sure demise.

Footsteps approach, heavily calculated, and determined. Sampson can’t look at me, can’t even look from the pale path beneath his feet. But Aiden’s eyes, they spoke a thousand words, the cold hard hatred, the faint luminescent glow burning within the icy greens. The problem with these vampires, these new bloods… They were turned and forgotten, woken by the cold, emptiness of dusk, abandoned by those who had taken their mortal lives. Of course without their makers, without guidance, they buckled beneath the weight of their new found urges. Their humanity, their sanity buried beneath liters of blood and death.

This one. Zack. He still resembled something human.

The one that killed Aiden’s parents, didn’t.

Chapter 5.6 (10)

As we meet in the path, both of them separate and form a gap for us to path through. I turn my head ever so slightly, subtly towards Aiden to give him the signal. We were alone in the streets now, where no prying eyes could possibly see us. It was great that the world knew the mercenary core was there to help them, but more often than not they took their victim and left without a second glance, the newspaper heading, perhaps an afterthought, vicious killing spree comes to an abrupt end. The general public didn’t need to know what there government had done for them.

The footsteps pause, as the vampire and I continue on. But not for long. With our backs turned, obscured from site, two firm hands grip the backside of Zack’s shoulders, another two firmly gripping a sleek, field viable pistol. The vampire is torn from my side with such force, his body cracks against the ground, and he appears once again, baring his brilliant white fangs from the dusty pavement.

Like lightning, the vampire moves to take Aiden’s throat, but he’s quicker, the sharp end of a needle jabbed into the exposed skin of his wrist. Zack lets out a throaty cry of pain, the liquid held within the vessel quickly emptying into his veins, silver, poison to a thing like him.

Chapter 5.6 (11)

“So, you’re the guy, huh? The one using this town as his own personal feeding grounds.” Aiden’s voice is smooth and calm as he lights a cigarette of his own, crouching down in the dirty, dark alley way beside our target. “Sampson, keep the trigger on him, and if I were you, Zack, was it? I wouldn’t make any sudden movements unless you want a bullet through the chest.”

Taking my place at my brother’s side, my face turns to stone. Despite the rumours, you couldn’t just kill a guy for being at the wrong place, at the wrong time. It was highly likely that it was him, in fact it was laughable that it would be anyone else picking me up from that bar, falling for that bait so foolishly. But we weren’t kids anymore, we had orders, and rules to follow.

Chapter 5.6 (12)

“We checked the missing persons reports, you know. Didn’t know who, or what we were looking for, and lo and behold, we have a winner.” With  puff of smoke, the vampire lets out a low hiss, struggling to find it’s once again brute strength and sheer force of will. Now within his cold eyes, the tiny shred of humanity was surely dangling precariously on the edge. There was no recognition of what was happening, only animilistic growls, and pain. “Zackary Marting, 24, went missing the night of April 17th, last seen leaving the office, never to be seen again. Apart from now that is, and every other night you’ve killed.”

“Shut up, shut up!” He growls, his eyes shooting to Aiden’s with pure hatred burning through the core. Crawling over the ground, like a beetle caught on it’s back, once again it makes a move to attack. The silver burning within it’s veins is the only reason it hadn’t killed him yet. The adrenaline, and nervous energy pumps through veins of my own as I await the words we need to hear.

“So how many have you killed?” I speak this time, watching him closely, it was quiet now, I can hear my blood pumping within my ear drums, anticipation racing through mind, all of our minds. From the corner of my eyes, I see Samspon’s grip tighten anxiously around the trigger of the gun as if to soothe his own cowardice. “How many did you want to kill? “

Chapter 5.6 (13)

“You’re going to be next, pretty girl, maybe your friends too.” His muscles tremble wickedly as it forces itself onto his hands and knees once more, and with a determined glare painted in neon across his very face. I barely see the movement as it moves, a flash a darkness against the bleak walls of the city.

“Fuck!” Aiden’s voice is high pitched for only a moment, as his body collides with the concrete wall obscuring us from the street corner. A loud oof sound catches in his throat, my eyes trace the darkness of Zack’s coat as his body towers over Aidens. I can’t drag my eyes away, the fingers of his hands curve down the contours of his neck, tracing the barely visible jugular vein with marksmen accuracy.

And why isn’t he on the ground yet?

Chapter 5.6 (14)

The gun trembles in Sampson’s hands, and he looks like he’s just seen death incarnate. There’s blood from the impact staining the walls, not enough to cause a panic, but just enough to captivate our weak willed friend. I think it’s safe to say at this point we can scatter his ashes to the winds and leave this town in our rear view mirror, if only Sampson could act. Just snap out of it. You’re only killing a man.

“Shoot him!” I hiss, my eyes opening wide enough to strike even more fear into his feeble heart, but he doesn’t. He won’t. His arms buckle under the weight of his gun, fear stricken, and dumb struck, he’s a deer in the head lights, and it was a mistake bringing him here. “Sam snap out of it.”

We can both see it, the fangs drawing nearer to his neck, the oblivious nature of a world ruled by thirst and hate. God damn it… I’m not giving this up because of that fool… And so I do what any self respecting girl would do.

Chapter 5.6 (15)

I shoot.

“I’m sorry, I… I-“

“Next time, if someone isn’t there to clean up your mess, you’ll get us killed.” I hiss, hoisting Aiden’s arm awkwardly over my shoulder to help him walk so we can get the hell out of here. I can taste my anger in my throat, coiling tightly, tearing at my chest like a wild animal trying to escape. “If you weren’t such a coward, this mission would have gone flawlessly, But then again, Sampson, that’s what you are, isn’t it?”

“Larka…” Is all he manages to say, before his buries his face within the palms of his hands.

Chapter 5.6 (16)

“Don’t worry, I’m tougher than I look, it’s just a scratch. But if your not a killer now-” Aiden’s voice is low and controlled, his eyes have a glassy type of look to them as he eyes up Sampson. His own eyes a watery mess. “- You will be soon.”

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Guys I’m sorry.. Again!

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Generation 1

So you’ve probably guessed by the title that this is another delay of the chapters. I wish I had a good reason, I really do, but doubling writers block with world of warcraft is a terrible idea. Serial procrastinating, and brand new shiny achievements in the game to be unlocked/completed will be the death of me. And not in the fun, exciting way, but the way that they’re just there… Waiting… Needing to be done :p

Now I am thankful that the sims achievements are organised so badly, or I probably would have fried my laptop trying to finish them all. And I really don’t have the will to look them up. 

Anyway, enough of the crazy talk, I promise, pink promise even that I will get the chapter out over the next couple of days.

Chapter 5.5 – Bounty hunters

Posted: January 11, 2014 in Generation 1

I’d finally managed to do it. Escape the prison sentence that was living with my mother. She wasn’t that bad… If you considered getting sick a death sentence. Or being caught with a boy who you didn’t plan on spending the rest of your life resulting with a joyful lecture. Then no, she wasn’t that bad. But being eighteen, and living alone, in the very prime of my youth had some obvious advantages.

Chapter 5.5

My head lolls back on the sofa, the heavy scent of strong liqueur and smoke filling my nostrils, and I sigh a happy sigh. It was my apartment. Albeit, crappy, but it was my crappy apartment none the less. Amid the painstakingly burnt red tiles, and odd paneled floor boards, was a certain charm, even if you had to look a few times to see it. But the way I saw it, if I had my way, it wasn’t like I would be here that often anyway.

I had set my eyes on the mercenary core. They were the hired guns of our military, rented out by the humans to deal with the vampire problems in their neighbourhood. With so much action on the front line, a lot of rogue vamps often took the distraction to shack up in some unlucky town. Glorified bounty hunters, yet they, hopefully we, would be the bridge between us, and the humans. Anyone who could fight for those towns, was almost always missing, off fighting in the war, which made it almost too easy for a rogue to decimate them. And the last thing anyone wants in a bloody battlefield, is for their allies to have to return home… So that they might even have a home to return to.

As the door knocks, I call out lazily for them to let themselves inside. The walk was probably three steps away from where I had myself draped across the couch, but even then, the scent of my guest had greeted my nose, my captain, he didn’t share the same vampire blood as I, so it wasn’t like he needed permission to enter anyway. Sora might as well revel in the fact.

Chapter 5.5 (2)

“Sir, have you had a chance to look over my application?” My voice calls as he takes his place inside the small apartment. A deep seated amusement twinkling in his aging eyes. I wasn’t nervous by any means about my approval into the mercenary core, the skills I had honed and perfected over my years at the academy spoke volumes for me. Impatient might have been a better word to describe it all. “Captain?” My voice finds a harsh edge to it. “Well? Spit it out already.”

“Graduation is barely over, and you’re already knocking on my door, figuratively speaking of course.” Sora sighs, a finger tracing down the contours of his jaw. Scraping the fine hairs of stubble with a tired breath that lingered within his eyes. “Thought you would’ve at least given me a few days before you came headhunting though.” I roll my tired eyes at his deep chuckle, the edges of his eyes turning into happy curves. “The first stage of applications are still being looked over. But hey, I never said it would be easy, they’re a tough bunch to please. If it’s any consolation, rumour has it they’re handing out trial missions to the first round of recruits soon.”

Chapter 5.5 (3)

There was a fine line between being a natural born killer, and someone you wanted associated with such fickle political alliances. Which meant, at present date, only the top percent of applicants made it into their ranks, hell the list was growing smaller as we speak. “I take it she asked you to check in on me?”

“Well it has been a few days since you took the keys to this place, surprised you haven’t burnt it to the ground yet” My captain smirks easily, tousling his short hair with an amused look upon his face. Shooting him daggers, I ignore the soft footfall from outside and pull myself off of the couch.

Chapter 5.5 (4)

“Although the smell of old booze and cigarettes is really bringing down the neighbourhood, Lark.” Nickolai announces, a broad, toothy grin adorning his face. His right hand curls around the frame of the door, his bronzed skin glinting in the flickering lights from the hallway, and I frown, the cavalry had arrived. “Ya know, she’ll kill you if you wear that tonight.” Like he could talk, families dinners, as few as they were, it was a generally accepted rule that uniforms were left at the door.

Growling, I trudge my bare feet out of the room. I can hear their voices,  loud, and boisterous as I find my way to the bathroom. Splashing cold water across my face, breathing in deeply as the remaining droplets slowly move down my face. Still, even after the years, I felt like a child on the verge of being scolded by being in her presence as I would tonight. It was a strange thing, but my mother acted as my kryptonite.

Chapter 5.5 (5)

I guess that her overprotective streak bought back memories of my darkest hours. The nightmares that plagued my unconscious mind, that cold, white hand always sending shivers down my back, and the otherworldly voice, sending visions of eternal darkness and forcing back into it. Perhaps, just maybe she was my weakness, was because that was what she wanted me to be. Did it annoy her that I was a fighter? Did it hurt her? Did I… Hurt her?

I shrug the thought away almost as quickly as it had invaded my thoughts. Tonight would be long enough without that kind of thinking. It wasn’t as though I disliked my family, not in as so many words. But there were very clear lines of where each one stood in the delicate balance. Nick was the golden boy, despite having a different mother to us, and Sampson was… The opposite, completely. His nervousness, was Nick’s confidence, his sensitivity was Nick’s arrogance. Mother was… Mother was, frantic, and nervous, and father liked to pretend everything was under control. And I, I was still seen as the sick kid, who was in hospital every other week when I was a kid.

“Lets get this over with, already.” I smirk, strutting past Nick and Sora on my way out. I don’t bother to change, or bother to find clean socks, instead I just leave, with my head held high. If Nick got to wear his uniform, no matter how busy he might be at the moment, I sure as hell wasn’t going to change.

Chapter 5.5 (6)

We arrive to the old, musty dive bar that I had picked out especially. The strong smell of intoxication lurked in the air and clung to it’s patrons, the sounds of the slot machines squeal as the old machinery moves into place. Handsome men drag their eyes up and down my body, and whisper under their breathes. A place like this you could really get used to.

*

The mercenary core was definitely slow, by the time I finally got the news of my approval into the next round, nearly two weeks had passed. The slow reply had dampened the excitement of the news, however, so to had the blaring hangover that throbbed painfully in my head.

Chapter 5.5 (7)

“You are all here today, to be assigned into your mission groups. As you will notice, each group will have an assigned captain, chosen from the Mercenary core from which you are applying. Their position on your team is to provide an accurate report of your skills and abilities, while assuring that you do not fall into any undo danger.” The feminine voice of the instructor is cold, and sharp. Around her short, falling locks is an air of danger, as she paces restlessly, up and down the dirt path. “Now, if you will, please move to your assigned group once your name has been called.”

Underneath the hot sun, the time seems to drag on as we wait our names to be called. My eyes scan the twenty or so kids that had been called down to the training grounds to be placed into the core. My lower lip sticks out with boredom as my eyes trace the clouds darting across the blue skies. Step one, complete, I had made it this far already. My breath is shaky as my name is called, and fall into line with my captain for the mission brief, and introductions.

Chapter 5.5 (8)

“Welcome to team six everyone. From today until further notice I am your squad captain, and superior.” My eyes meet his dark pupils as his voice greets all four of us. As he speaks pleasantries and goes over formalities, my eyes take in the curves of his face, and toned body. His plain black top did little but cling to his muscled chest, and I bite my lip, thoughts formulating lazily in my mind. Surely I couldn’t pull a move on the guy holding my career in his hands, although, I’m sure it would be easy enough to explain walking in on him in the shower if we were going to spend a lot of time together. “My name is Riley Judd, I joined the core shortly after my nineteenth birthday. My pack originates from the northernmost part of Moonlight Falls, and my favourite food is sushi. Who’s next, how about you, Blondie.”

“Uh, hi, my name is Seth…” The man begins with a sigh, I don’t know the guy, and don’t particularly care to. We’re all just serving a purpose for one another right now, and we all want the same thing. As long as we complete the mission, then I suppose names and favourite foods don’t matter a whole lot. Who knows if he’ll even stick around long enough for it to matter.

“Now that we got the formalities down, we can talk about the target, and assignment.” Judd states breaking me from my thoughts. With a quick smile, his eyes dart down to his watch. “Now if you all follow me, we can go someplace a bit more private, and discuss this whole thing in more detail.”

Chapter 5.5 (9)

My eyes falling onto Samspon’s as we begin to set off. “Just stay out of my way, okay?” I hiss under my breath. It was cruel for me to say it, to let the words slide dangerously off of my tongue, but it’s inevitability was painfully obvious. This wasn’t something that I needed anyone to help me with, especially not him.

“Look, Larka, I’m sorry-“

“Just don’t screw this up for me.”

 *

So because I am a little bit late (I can get the dialogue perfect in my head, but pen to paper gahhh what a mess), I thought I’d take a few family photos to make up for it. My photo skills are pretty bad, buutttt…. I haven’t done family photos since like generation 2? And I already adore this generation and what it will become.

Gen 5 family photo (2)

The kids (even if Larka looks somewhat pyschopathic)

Gen 5 family photo

I got one out of five smiling (can you call that a smile?), so that’s good enough for me.

Gen 5 family photo (3)

These two :3

Anyway, after remembering to look up her traits, Larka’s is as follows.

Hot headed, rebellious, perceptive, commitment issues, and brave.

I guess after this chapter we get into the actual story line, sorta, a guess… I’m not really sure which point you can say definitively is the guts of the story, but it’s no longer setting up for where we might go, and where Larka stands with her world.

Chapter 5.4

Stop him… The words seemed to whisper to the smallest part of me, the part that sheltered depravity and savoured every single drip of loneliness bearing through my cold body. The icy, ethereal quality of the harsh voice had sent a shiver to the very core of my existence, and the moonlight bathes my pale skin.

My feet fall to the edge of the bed, dangling precariously in the darkness, noticeably in biting distance to the monsters under my bed. But I dared them to come, to follow in the strides of the moon on its journeys across the darkened sky. The brilliant blue of my eyes is alight in stark contrast to the blackness around me, to the coldness of my world. A tight line forms across my perfectly still, statuesque features.

Stop him…

Chapter 5.4 (2)

Those were the only two words that seemed to make it through this time. Whatever the darkness was alluding to, whatever it was foreshadowing was unknown. There was just nothing, but my heart races in spite of itself. The fear, the tension, it was tangible, like a cross I had, heavy across my back, a burden that I alone had to carry…

The only way to beat the darkness, the only way to win, was to never stop. Stopping for even a moment could result in me being swallowed whole by the cruelty of my heart and the world. I had to get stronger. And that meant that I couldn’t fear the darkness, or what threatened to lurk within its confines. Fear, and doubt, those were the two things that could get a soldier killed the fastest. Our emotions had to be unwavering, like cold steal, devoid and empty to the bone.

I drop my hands onto the soft carpet beneath my feet, taking in a deep breath of the breeze. The scent of lichen, and juniper berries fill the air with sweetness, and the musty earth rises from the damp forest floor. My scent gets keener, my eye sight, sharper. Two legs form four, furry ears rise over my now pale white snout. A bushy tail rises into the night as I gracefully leap from the open window, skilfully, with as much practice as one who had taken this route many, many times before.

Chapter 5.4 (3)

The strength of freedom powers through my veins, as I dodge the passing trees, and thick underbrush of the old woods. The pads of my paws form small prints against the snapped twigs and clear a path in the fallen leaves. This was a routine saved for nights like this. Nights where the stillness of my heart had broken. Where the erratic pressure had fallen back down and crushed me under its weight. The waiting, the restless impatience, and for what?

What the hell was I waiting for? Always waiting for? A soft whine catches in my throat as I trace the line to the invisible barrier of our lands. Stop him? My pace quickens under the question, and I’m carried on almost instinct alone. Letting my animalistic nature burn wildly, and strongly within my veins. I couldn’t reason with myself, not on this issue. That other world, whatever it was… I couldn’t explain it, their wasn’t enough words in the world, not enough ink to write it out, not enough blood, sweat and tears to scream it from the heavens. It existed somewhere between this world and the next. It wasn’t death, no, not the true death.

It was where the human heart went to die, and the soul was sealed. It stunk of regrets, visibly scarring the night sky with it’s tears. Confusion grew from every leaf of the thick forest, and cruelty etched upon the cold stone floor. There were only glimpses I had seen, and felt, just glimpses, and yet, I unconditionally feared it. But for whatever reason, it was telling me… No… It was warning me.

Chapter 5.4 (4)

Or maybe.

Maybe I was just going crazy.

Yeah, that was probably it. My deadly teeth poke out beneath the sharp curve of my muzzle, almost in a sick smile. But I still ran, my paws dancing across the broken path ahead of me. There was no point in lying awake in bed, counting the cracks of the ceiling until the sun poked it’s head above the clouds. That action alone was almost too painful to bear. Awake and no where to go. Afraid and no where to turn. No, I couldn’t be afraid.

Taking in a deep breath, a taste the cold air around me. A familiar scent drifting upon the incoming breeze, like a fallen leaf in the autumn sky. The thought barely penetrates my mind before my direction is slightly askew, a few miles east of the border. Last I heard, Sora had returned home from the front line, almost in a body bag, there was no way he should be on duty so soon. “Larka?” The voice is partly shocked, yet filled with a calm resonance. Of course he would of sensed me, even in the darkness.

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“Captain.” I breathe in greeting, quickly phasing back into humanity. My soft skin, pale, and exposed in the moonlight. His dark blue iris’ look almost distant, empty, and the thin layer of bandages beneath his uniform are like a beacon of his pain. Forget the scars running livid across his exposed body, it was what was beneath that held the mark of his survival. “I heard you had made it home, but I didn’t think you’d be on duty again so soon.”

“Is that why you’re out here again. You know, your scent is all over the boundary line, don’t trust I can keep it safe still, aye?” Almost instantly his eyes curve into a happy smile, and I don’t need to focus on the rest of his face to know it to be so. Whatever was troubling him, whatever ghosts haunted his closed eyes were gone once again, almost as though I’d imagined it. “But, you want to know a secret, Lark?” Our eyes meet in mutual curiosity. “I could still beat you and the whole squad, with my eyes closed. And anyone who would dare try to cross this line.”

I smirk in spite of myself, and wondered, is that what it meant to grow up, to be a soldier. To bury the emotional pain, and ignore the physical. “Not for long, ya know the boys might be an easy target, but I’m one of the top students at the academy. I could take ya, old man.” Half of my face curves into a lopsided smirk.

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“Now, if you weren’t so arrogant, I’d say you were turning into a fine young wolf. That vamper blood in you, with it I know you’ll do your part to end this whole bloody thing.” A soft sigh sits upon his lips. Strands of black hair speckle the edges of his hard jawline, and his hand finds the inside of his pocket. “But, ya know, war isn’t a game, kid, with that attitude you’d get yourself killed in no time. It’s never fun when your the only one who can walk through that door back home. I suppose that’s what it means to grow up these days, to bury a friend that is.”

His head rises towards the moon, his jaw clenching down tightly. His breath comes out in painful, sharp motions, but only for a second before his eyes come crashing back down to mine. “I’ll tell you what, it used to be a lot more simple, back before we had to teach kids to fight.”

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“I don’t think there was ever a truly simple time, Captain.” I murmur under my breath in a quiet response. Just a quick glance at the history books said as much, there was always some sort of conflict, and some type of crude governing body. “Is the front line really that bad, sir?

“They got me, didn’t they.” A small, short chuckle erupts in the night, over the sounds of a distant owl calling in the darkness. Despite the harsh nature of his own reality, there was no escaping it. Soldiers had to be confident in their abilities, but not cocky. Understanding that when they left for their mission, that it was likely they weren’t going to be coming home in one piece, if at all, but they couldn’t fear it, or let that thought work it’s way into their hearts. Every captain exemplified that thought pattern, maybe I’d already joined those ranks. “We’ve training tonight. This is an important one, so I don’t want to hear that you’ve been skipping again. Doesn’t matter how good you think you are, you can always do better.”

*

Nightfall had long since passed by the time I had finally arrived to the training grounds. Familiar scents, and voices filled the air around me, enveloping me in it’s warm, inviting clutches. I wasn’t late, but I certainly wasn’t early. Taking my position amongst the pack, a light frown mars my young face. Judging by the number of higher ups in the crowd, it was painfully obvious that this was in fact important. And probably run at least an hour or so longer than it needed too.

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Members of the black-ops not on current rounds, and various captains all took point at my grandfather’s side. Head of the war council, and successor to the prince of the vampire kind, he certainly thought he was important. Perhaps he was. “It’s nice for everyone to finally join us.” His eyes lock in on mine, briefly, and I smirk. “Tonight as you can all tell is going to be a very important instruction. You can probably mark it as the first proper initiation step into joining the army.”

Excited murmurs erupt around me. We had all been training for the last two years in basic fighting and tracking skills, none of it was particularly difficult, and if what he was saying was true, then tonight marked the start of the real training.

“Does anyone here know how to kill one of my kind?” My great grandfather’s voice is a quiet rumble through the silence, like thunder on a cloudy day. Deep and powerful, scaring a few of the pathetic little kids around me. From the corner of my eye I can see my brother Sampson almost cower at the question, it wasn’t surprising, he had always been weak.

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“It’s easy.” I growl in the forthcoming silence, and I can feel all eyes on the back of my head. Balt had a way of silencing an entire room with just one look, or just one word. His reputation preceded him, torturer… Killer… My eyes lock in on his matching vivid blue eyes, and I’m almost swallowed whole by the intensity of his gaze, but I do not falter. “Pierce the heart, and the rest will fall.”

“Is that that easy, child?” In a swift motion, almost too quick for my eyes to see, his back is turned to me. The sound of him searching for something pounds in my head along with my heart beat. No one was moving, except him. “If there was an attack now, do you actually think you could win? Truly, do you think you’d actually stand half a chance?”

“I’d have to.” My voice is steady, and defiant. There were no ands, ifs or buts. We either survived or we didn’t. That was the world we lived in.

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“Then shall we see if your assumption is correct.” Despite the phrasing of the words, it definitely favoured being a statement rather than a question. In his hand rests a carefully molded stake out of a light coloured wood. Like a flash of white, the stake goes flying through the air, whizzing straight at me. As my fingers narrowly close in on the moving object, I feel the redness stain my cheeks. “Are you quite ready, child. And remember, if you do not intend on killing me, then you’ve already lost.”

“Balt..” My grandfather, the red haired vampire growls in a low warning. But in the place of humility, a cold smirk finds it’s place across his ghostly features. This was happening. My hand tightens around the polished wood, as I nervously take a step forward. I couldn’t afford to take my eyes off of him, my eyes could keep up with his speed, but I couldn’t match it.

“And go.” He whispers, and like a flash he’s upon me. Calculating his movements, I thrust my weapon forward. Except a cold hand catches it easily, pulling me forward and against his iron chest. “Dead.” Baltezhar’s, my great grandfathers hand lies painfully against my ribcage, fingers, claws, curved against the softness of my mortal flesh, angled towards my frozen heart. My eyes widen, filled with shock, and realisation. “Overconfidence is the quickest way to get yourself killed.” I can’t escape the coldness of his gaze, or the pressure that he exerted with just one look. “I am faster, stronger, and crueler, much more than you could ever hope to be. To kill me, to even put a scratch on my very forehead, you need to want me dead, much more than I want you.”

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As his grip finally breaks, and his eyes, deftly look away, I can feel my lungs bursting for oxygen. And it occurs to me, I hadn’t taken another breath since falling into his iron clutches. I had been physically unable to. Whether through surprise, or the deathly intense force of his eyes, I wasn’t certain. If this was anywhere else, if he was anyone else, I would be dead right now. And the thought touches upon an icy vein in my mind.

I had grown up with death’s cold hand in my own. I knew her intimately, as she knew me. Perhaps, that was why I did not fear her, or it’s inevitability. Or maybe through the fact that I grew up during the longest period of bloodshed our world had ever known. The hearts of our soldiers stopped beating, they died every single day, it was expected. If someone went missing, we didn’t search with medical teams, we weren’t looking for a quiet breath in the wreckage, we went looking for corpses, if we looked at all. Cynicism had perhaps marred our blood.

But that was the way of war. When someone was killed, there were no tears, perhaps we’ve… I’ve forgotten how… Soldiers die. But if we completed the mission, if we took out one of their men of the way down, then perhaps the best that we could hope for was a heroes death. If such a thing existed. Heroes, I scoff almost out loud, falling back into line with a harsh expression written across my face.

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And all those who died before their one great act of valor and heroism, what were they? Unlucky? Scum? Forgotten? My eyes slowly drift around the gathered faces. My father, my brothers, my classmates, Baltezhar’s voice is quiet, purposefully so, forcing you to take heed in his old archaic wisdom. Anxious fear was burning meekly in a few of the faces. They didn’t know how to kill, none of us did, but with every word, we were being thrust closer to the eventual date, of kill or be killed.

Besides it’s not everyday you stand face to face with a grade A torturer such as my great grandfather, who held such an air of danger, even some of the captains still feared him. But when they needed answers, he was always the one to cut and bleed it out of their pathetic little prisoners. With that thought it occurs to me how far this world had fallen. My mother had read me books of happier days before these ones, of smiles, and spring, and peace. But truly, when had there ever been peace? For everyone? For all the little people too?

Our world was always fallen.

A thin veil of sweat beaded the tops of our bodies, dripping from our forehead by the end of the night. Exhaustion sapped my very bones, each breath coming out in ragged bursts from my core. Whenever the army, or council was directly involved, the training was brutal, and it’s effects lasted days afterward.

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Opening my eyes, my father walks anxiously towards me, and I can already tell what will come next. He had never been particularly good at handling me, but then again, neither had mother. “Larka…” His voice is already soft, weak. “Ya know, if this is too difficult, or it gets to hard, you don’t have to continue. Things are about to get a lot harder, training wise, and then after that… No one will look down on you if you need a break.”

“A break, father?” The eye roll is involuntary, and the anger in my voice has already seeped in before I’ve grasped it. “If it gets harder, then I’ll get stronger. Despite what you think, I’m not that weak.” My shoulder lightly touches his as I shove past, easily spotting my escape route.

“Lark, you know that’s not what I meant.” By the time he spits it out, and turns around, I’m gone. “Larka? Come back.. Shit… Viv is gonna kill me.”